As a chemicals manufacturer, Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd (PetChem) understands its responsibility in ensuring that its operations leave minimum negative impact on the environment it operates in. Together with the local community, PetChem’s environmental initiatives include reforestation efforts as well as the rehabilitation of mangrove habitats.

But for the group, its environmental responsibility also includes ensuring that natural resources such as hydrocarbons and water are used as efficiently as possible. It also makes sure all wastes, as well as air and water emissions, are managed well, bearing in mind the natural environment and well-being of the local communities in the areas where it operates.

As an added safety measure, it even carried out real-time monitoring of the quality of air and water surrounding its plant.

“Our operations are heavily dependent on water, which is used to generate steam as well as for cooling and cleaning purposes. Because it is a vital and limited natural resource, we strive to use water efficiently, hence minimise waste. All activities involving water are closely monitored, in line with Petronas’ Guidelines on Water Practices (WAPS), which defines the operating conditions and maintenance practices for efficient water use,” PetChem said in its 2017 annual report.

“We continuously improve the environment, health, security and safety performance of our facilities, processes and products,” it added.

Apart from tracking energy efficiency, it also measures water consumption efficiency to cut wastage. Last year, one of its units,

PC Aromatics, managed to reduce the volume of makeup water it consumes and blowdown water discharged by increasing the concentration of minerals in the recirculated water by 60% to 100% without scaling. This, it explained, was achieved by tightly controlling other parameters such as the acidity and conductivity of the water and ensuring zero chlorine content.

“By reducing the quantity of makeup water consumed by the cooling water system, the water withdrawal intensity [PC Aromatics] improved by 26%, saving approximately 400,000m3 of water in 2017. This is equivalent to the volume of water in more than 160 Olympic-sized swimming pools,” PetChem said in its report.

As part of its waste management process, PetChem also quantifies and inventorises all hazardous waste, which is stored safely in dedicated areas within each manufacturing site before being transported to government licensed waste facilities for appropriate treatment.

“In 2017, we maintained our average waste recycling rate at above 80%. Moving forward, we will continue to strive to reduce, reuse, recycle and recover our hazardous waste,” its report read.

Sustainability efforts at PetChem are led by a management committee, which provides direction to the Sustainable Development Working Committee (SDWC) and endorses all decisions made by the working-level representatives.

“The SDWC is responsible for overseeing various systems implemented to monitor and report our sustainability performance. In addition, SDWC members work closely with their counterparts in each subsidiary to ensure stakeholder value creation across the group. In 2017, we made the SDWC more comprehensive by bringing on board additional representatives from more departments to further drive sustainability within [PetChem],” the report read.

Going by how everything is tracked and measured, PetChem should have a pretty good grasp of how it can be a better corporate citizen.